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In brief: The holidays are upon us, which usually means it's time for Boston Dynamics to show just how adept its robots are at dancing. This year, however, the company has gone for something a bit more understated: a video of quadrupedal machine Spot doing a Solid Snake impression.
Boston Dynamics likes to show off videos of its robots’ various skills, from parkour and gymnastics to cleaning and gardening. But judging from the several dancing videos it has put out over the years, the robots’ most practical use will be appearing on Dancing with the Stars.
The start of the robotics firm’s latest video suggests we’re in for another danceathon, starting as it does with a giant present sitting outside the company offices. But no, the box suddenly rises on four legs as Spot casually walks off camera, cleverly concealed just like a very famous Hideo Kojima character.
Happy holidays and many thanks to everyone who helped drive Spot's success this year! We're excited to see where you can take our robots in 2022. pic.twitter.com/wnIZKAuhbF— Boston Dynamics (@BostonDynamics) December 21, 2021
Boston Dynamics doesn’t mention Solid Snake or Metal Gear Solid in the tweet, so perhaps the resemblance to the character's favorite method of stealth is a mere coincidence. Or could it be a subtle nod toward Spot’s talents for espionage, proving that the robot can do more than just open doors, skip, and dance like Mick Jagger?
In June, car manufacturer Hyundai took a controlling stake in Boston Dynamics, which until then had been wholly owned by SoftBank. It announced plans to expand BD's global sales and service footprint for the current product line.
As for the more practical applications of Boston Dynamics' robots, they’ve been used across several industries, including the military, construction, power, utilities, manufacturing, oil, gas, and mining. A heavily modified version of Spot found a place on the NYPD, but the force terminated its $94,000 contract with Boston Dynamics following a public backlash against what appeared to be the first steps toward a dystopian police state.